Monday, September 9, 2013

Burn Riddick in a Fire

[Content note: rape]

When I ended my summer movie series, I commented, "I will, of course, continue to blog here and there about any films I see with particularly interesting gender messages." I guess what I meant by "particularly interesting gender messages" is "shit that makes my blood boil and I must comment on." Because I saw Riddick this weekend and there was nothing interesting about was just a steaming pile of fail.

I don't have a lengthy analysis or any kind of nuanced look at this piece of tripe. I just have two main things to share:

1) There was one woman of color in the whole film. She had maybe one line, was brutally murdered within 2 minutes of appearing on screen, and it's alluded to that she was repeatedly raped by the band of evil bounty hunters who had been holding her as a prisoner.

2) The white woman bounty hunter was supposed to be all cool and strong because she can kick a lecher's ass and shoot really well, but she's also almost raped by that very lecher. She's apparently a lesbian, (declaring at the beginning, "I don't fuck men!") but as her crew interacts with Riddick she displays all kinds of attraction to him and participates in joking about how they're gonna do it. The age old tale of the-hero's-boner-is-so-awesome-it-can-convert-lesbians.

I want to scream.

Every time I write negatively about the stuff that makes fanboys giddy, they like to come here all indignant and declare things like, "If you don't like it, go make your own stuff!" and "Stop trying to censor people! Just because it contains rape doesn't mean they endorse rape! The bad guy was a rapist, therefore, it was commentary on the badness of all rape!!1!" and "That scene is just about that one woman, it's not an act of violence against all women." (OH, and a whole lot of "shut up you stupid bitch!" -es that I don't ever publish.)

So let me save you the time and just cut those comments off at the pass:
  • Firstly, Google "mansplaining" and "rape culture" and read read read read read before you ever comment here again. 
  • I would gladly support and promote feminist movies/comics/shows, if they could actually be made. In case you haven't noticed, the geek culture world (and Hollywood in general) is a boys club that is actively antagonistic to women. So "just making" this stuff isn't as easy as that (plus, that's not where my strengths lie, but I digress...) And for the record, I DO praise geeky stuff when I feel it is feminist, but that's so freaking rare that you're more likely to come across my complaints during a random Google search. 
  • As for the censorship issue, basically when it comes to rape, all I ask is that the writers display a modicum of sensitivity when they take on this shit. Does it need to be present in EVERY movie, faced by EVERY woman in the film, and a character trait of EVERY bad guy? Is the audience incapable of knowing someone is evil unless he's a rapist? That's insulting. Plus, part of writing is knowing that critique/criticism will happen, so I'm not wrong to point out the problematic aspects of this movie. Typically people who denounce censorship and extol free speech forget that free speech doesn't mean you can say (and in this case write) whatever you want without consequence. And it does mean that I can talk about how I hate this damn movie. 
  • Actual commentary on rape does NOT look like mindless, gratuitous depictions. If you can't see that, there's nothing more I can do for you. 
  • And finally, I'm not saying that people can't like this movie (or any other of the random fanboy geek stuff that I've called out.) I'm just saying it contains deeply flawed elements and you should probably at least be aware of that if you're willing to say you like it.

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